Hearing loss affects an estimated 48 million people in the US, not only impacting communication, but mental, emotional and physical health. The longer that hearing loss is ignored the worse these dangerous side effects can progress, causing rifts in people’s most cherished relationships, affecting people’s performance at work and even contributing to the early onset of dementia.
If you can stay on top of your hearing loss, then you can receive the treatment you need and deserve in order to stay connected to the life you love. Often people wonder when and how often to get tested. The answer is that depends on you and your circumstance. Here are some things to consider which can make this question much clearer for you.
Questions to ask about hearing loss
Often people may suspect they have hearing loss for years before they actually seek treatment. The first question to ask yourself is: Do you suspect you have hearing loss? Are people close to you suggesting that you may have trouble hearing? If you find yourself having to ask people to repeat themselves more often than not, or you struggle to hear in crowded environments, then it is time to schedule a hearing test now.
Age related hearing loss
Another huge factor in your risk of hearing loss is age. Age related hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing issues, affecting one in three people over 65. This number rises to half once people reach 75 and older. Once you reach 65, it is a good idea to have a doctor monitor your hearing loss annually.
Occupation and lifestyle
Another important question to ask yourself: How does my occupation, hobbies and lifestyle affect my hearing? If you have worked your entire career in a noisy environment such as a factory, construction site or even a noisy office setting this can erode your hearing ability over years. Similarly, if you enjoy riding motorboats, hunting or motorcycles this noise can degrade your hearing over time. Sound is measured in decibels, and when the decibel level rises over 85, your ears sustain damage over time. The important thing is not to stress. While hearing often cannot be reversed, it can be treated very effectively using hearing aids. The first step however is to test your hearing so your audiologist can understand the extent of your hearing issues.
Understanding testing vs. screening for hearing loss
If you suspect you have a hearing loss, generally you will first screen yourself for hearing loss. This can often be done online by answering a series of questions. You and those who know you best can answer these questions to determine how likely it is that you are experiencing hearing loss. Once you have the results of this self-evaluated screening it will be more likely if you are at risk for hearing loss. This is when it is time to come in for a hearing test. A hearing test consists of measuring your hearing in a sound-treated booth. An audiogram can record your ability to hear different tones and pitches. A hearing healthcare professional can help explain to you, your degree of hearing loss and what your treatment options are. The most common treatment is hearing aids which amplify the specific sounds you struggle with so you can hear with your existing hearing.
It’s important to test even with confirmed hearing loss
Even if you are already being treated for hearing loss with hearing aids it’s important to remember that hearing loss is dynamic, meaning it changes over time. Hearing can become worse even if you are using hearing aids. It is a good idea to be tested annually to make sure that your hearing aids are programmed sufficiently.
Not only do hearing aids need to be adjusted to keep up with your ever-changing hearing but they can wear out over time. The average life of hearing aids are 5 to 7 years. Make sure you stay in contact with us to make sure your hearing aids are still able to help you with the very important job of keeping you connected and communicating clearly.